Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kathleen Neale Kepler '23

Kathleen Neale Kepler studied at the North China Language School in Peiping from 1930 to 1931.

Alumnae Quarterly (AQ) February 1932: "Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Kepler are now stationed in Siangton, Hunan, China, where they are doing evangelistic work."

AQ February 1938: "A very cheerful letter has been received by Kay Neale Kepler’s friends in this country, saying she is well and safe."

AQ August 1938: "Kay Neale Kepler, who is in China with her husband and two daughters is three miles outside Tsing Tao, and they are not able to return to their mission station."

AQ November 1942: "Kay Neale Kepler and her family are living in New Jersey until they can return to their home and work in China."

AQ February 1947: "Kay Neale Kepler is in Shanghai, China."

AQ May 1949: “Dear Class of 1923: We five Kepler’s were evacuated from China on a Navy transport, leaving Shanghai in early December. A brief stop in Tsingtao and at Yokasuka Bay, where the Navy planned a day in Tokyo for us and where we saw the bombed areas coming back to life in the remarkable reconstruction of that country, and where we Christmas shopped in the little stalls of the Ginga, Tokyo’s great thoroughfare, and the greatest variety of fellow evacuees, missionary, civilian, and military dependents, all made an interesting trip home.

“Our plans are still indefinite…as we have little chance of returning to China in the near future. That brings me to China, which we so hated to leave. Last summer we realized that our days there were probably numbered, as the situation from the political, financial, and military viewpoint was deteriorating so rapidly. Tension was great a good deal of the fall in Shanghai (near which we lived after we had to leave North China), especially when the food situation became very acute. Inflation made rice jump about six dollars U.S. per hundred pound bag to four hundred U.S. for the same amount, in ten days time, and even at that price you couldn’t get it. Farmers refused to bring in produce, inflation was such that money was worthless to them before they could use it. For a time we couldn’t buy so much as an egg or a potato. Paying up to $2.50 U.S. for a loaf of bread, with queues of waiting people unable to get it at that price, caused the American Council to get bread and sell it rationed at about fifty cents a loaf to Americans. Stores were closed; streets were jammed with idle, restless, panicky people; rioting was constant. The flow of refugees into and out of the city was indescribable.

“Temporary money adjustments eased the tension and the food crisis, but when our government sent evacuation notices, and the school bus stopped for our children, and many of their teachers were evacuating, that - together with other things - made us feel we would have to leave.

“The future no one can predict. Our personal opinion is that China will fall to the Communists eventually, and that it is a Russian Communism. From experience in a city nearest to the “Iron Curtain” for nearly a year, we know it is an anti-God, anti-freedom ideology that denies the one thing China needs - the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Friends who have tried staying ended up practically as prisoners in their own homes, a menace to their Chinese friends or to anyone who showed any connection with them. In our area, we were asked to leave not just for our own but for the sake of the Chinese Christians. Our hearts ache for China.”

AQ May 1956: "Kenneth and Kathleen Neale Kepler have again been called into the missionary field, this time to Formosa (Taiwan)."

AQ November 1956: "Kathleen and Kenneth Kepler sailed from San Francisco September 14 to be gone five years. They will conduct English Bible classes among college and high school students, government workers, lepers, and the aboriginal tribes of Formosa (Taiwan).

AQ February 1959: "Kathleen Neale Kepler believes the light of Christmas is really beginning to shine in Free China. All over the city of Taipei there were groups (both those born on the island and mainlanders who have lost all they had) that were decorating their churches and homes, sending gifts and cards, and letting their neighbors know of the joy Christ has brought them."

The Kepler’s spent another 10 years in Formosa/Taiwan.

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